Green gimmicks and gadgets

Are you assaulted daily by people claiming to make you greener? Do you listen?

I must confess that I get irritated by many of them because they’re using my guilt to stuff their pockets with money. And, very often, what they’re offering as a ‘cure’ to CO2 emissions or pollution actually turn out to be emitters and polluters in their own right, through their use of raw materials, manufacturing processes and delivery.

For example, do we really need one button to switch off multiple devices? Can’t we just take thirty seconds to switch them off individually. Or run them off a power block and switch that off? Or, as I do, use power blocks with individual switches, so that I only power the items that I’m using at any time. (I’m not claiming any great environmental virtuousness, by the way.) Perhaps the manufacturers would be able to tell us how much switching things off standby results in a nett gain to the environment.

Then you have the measuring things. They tell you how much power you’re using. Well, if you’re being sensible with your power use, do you need a measure? It’s a bit like bathroom scales. In my case, they merely confirm to me what I can see by looking in a mirror.

Okay, measurement can be useful. You can log progress and ‘prove’ to whoever needs to know that you are doing a better job than you used to do. This, no doubt, will come in handy for reporting your carbon footprint to those who wish to tax you. (Or reward you? I won’t be holding my breath.) Some computer companies are licking their lips at the prospect of selling you even more hardware and software just to enable you to keep track of, and report, this kind of thing.

Without question, a conscientious approach to the use of raw materials and noxious emissions is very important. It always has been. But, when faced with a green product or service, do take a moment to work out whose bottom line is really being served.

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